The Atlas Project / LESSON 1
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Part I, Chapter 1: The Theme

Greg Salmieri and Ben Bayer discuss the following questions for Part I, Chapter 1, of Atlas Shrugged: “The Theme.” 

  • Question 1: What do we learn about the world and about Eddie Willers from his observations and reflections as he walks to the Taggart building?
  • Question 2: What (if anything) elicits strong emotional responses from Eddie, James, and Dagny, and what responses do those things elicit? What do we learn about the characters from their responses?
  • Question 3: What differences are there in how Jim and Dagny deal with problems?
  • Question 4: Which characters not discussed in earlier questions are meant to be sympathetic and which unsympathetic (people Eddie encounters on his walk, the brakeman, Pop Harper, the people in charge of the train, Owen Kellogg)?
  • Question 5: What are people expressing when they say "Who is John Galt?"?
  • Question 6: What other questions or observations do you have about Part I, Chapter 1?

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Lesson Outline

Lead Instructor

Gregory Salmieri
Gregory Salmieri

Gregory Salmieri is an Anthem Foundation Fellow in philosophy. He teaches philosophy at Rutgers University, and has previously held teaching and research positions at Boston University and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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